Planning a wedding can be a minefield. Avoid unintentionally offending anyone and pull it off with grace and style to have a day you'll remember fondly.
- Step 1: Maintain control of the guest list. Don't let your parents hijack your invitation list or guilt you into inviting family you haven't seen since you were three. Stick to your budget and have your parents list the people they would like to come, in order of preference, and cut from the bottom.
- TIP: Save the exotic locales for the honeymoon.
- Step 2: Be strong and don't succumb to peer pressure. Everybody has an opinion about how you should handle your wedding -- DJ or band, plated meal or buffet. If you let people steamroll you into doing what they want, you'll end up way over budget and resent your friends and family. This is your wedding, not theirs.
- Step 3: Relax and try to enjoy yourself. If you're not having a good time at your own wedding, your guests will know it and they won't have a good time, either. Remember, the wedding is only one day, the marriage is a lifetime.
- FACT: In the interest of secrecy, the location of Chelsea Clinton's 2010 wedding was not printed on the invitations. Instead, the location was sent by e-mail a few days before the wedding.
- Step 4: Consider the location if you're having a destination wedding. While the medieval church in the French countryside sounds perfect, many of your guests won't be able to afford the trip, and some won't be up for the travel.
- Step 5: Plan to have the ceremony and reception at places that are close to each other. No one wants to drive an hour between venues. And schedule the events a reasonable length of time apart so people aren't waiting around forever between the ceremony and reception.
- Step 6: Have an open bar at your wedding. Supplying drinks for your guests is part of the deal. Having a cash bar is as tacky as stamping a big BYOB on your wedding invitations.
- TIP: People genuinely want to pitch in. Graciously accept help and concentrate on the big picture.
- TIP: You can cut costs by not including top-shelf liquor or by offering only beer and wine.
- Step 7: Don't list your registry information on your invitations. Registering for gifts lets people know what you want and makes sure you don't get duplicate gifts, but the best way to let people know about your registry is word of mouth.
- Step 8: Don't become a bridezilla. It's one thing to let your bridesmaids know what you need and how they can help, but it's quite another to be bossy and to expect bridesmaids to spend a fortune on their dresses or run themselves ragged to satisfy your every whim.
- Step 9: Skip trying to do too much. If you micromanage every aspect of your wedding and don't accept offers for help, you'll run out of steam and end up frustrated and stressed out.